The officer had roughly three seconds before the white SUV barreled into her patrol car. So Jamie Barrow raised her gun above the steering wheel, pumped two rounds through the windshield, and leaned across her seat — ready for impact.
The driver, identified as James Bryan Miller, zoomed past her that day on Interstate 75. He ultimately crashed, ran away, and eluded officers for another nine days before he was arrested near an apartment complex in Hixson.
"He was coming at me head-on," Barrow testified Tuesday in Hamilton County General Sessions Court. "And I knew I was going to be hurt if he hit me. I knew he'd already hit three cars. His intent was to hurt somebody."
After listening to numerous witnesses during his preliminary hearing, Judge Lila Statom agreed.
She sent his reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, and carjacking charges to the grand jury, raising the bond on most of them after learning about a nearly two-month-long crime spree that culminated in Miller's Aug. 1 car chase down the wrong lane of I-75.
Prosecutor Lance Pope first called Kristy Jenkins, who said she met a friend in the Krispy Kreme parking lot on Brainerd Road around 2 a.m. on her way home from a trip on June 16. Her friend offered to show Jenkins some antique watches, which she collected.
"All of a sudden, someone comes up and starts beating on my window, demanding that I get out of my car, or he's going to shoot me," Jenkins said. "And then, he took off in it."
That man, she said, was Miller.
Pope then called several Chattanooga police officers, who detailed the dramatic Aug. 1 chase.
Ty Cooper said he and another detective drove to a home on the 700 block of Watts Avenue to follow up on an investigation into a stolen vehicle.
While there, Cooper saw Miller standing outside of a blue SUV with the hatch open, doing something in the back. He looked down the street, saw the officers, then casually started walking to the driver's door, Cooper said.
When Cooper called out to him, Miller hopped into the front seat and reversed through a chain-link fence, ramming into the officer's vehicle.
"If the gate hadn't been there, he would have directly T-boned me," Cooper said.
Then the chase was on: Miller, dragging some of the chain-link fence behind him, tore through a field toward Airport Road, eventually leading officers toward I-75 and Highway 153.
Cooper said Miller headed north on I-75 in southbound traffic, while he and another officer followed him on the correct side. Meanwhile, Barrow was teaching a class on Amnicola Highway when she heard about the car chase. She raced to the Ooltewah area and tried to shut down traffic at Exit 11.
Barrow made her stand on a portion of I-75 above old Lee Highway. Seconds later, the SUV came directly toward her, going the wrong way down the interstate, riding on two flat tires and dragging the section of fence.
Barrow said she tried to get further instruction, but "didn't want anybody else to be hit."
Jay Underwood, the public defender representing Miller, spent most of the hearing gathering specific details about the car chase from law enforcement. He told Statom he wasn't prepared to make an argument yet.
Underwood then asked some of the officers if they knew how Miller allegedly tampered with several victims' credit.
Miller, 30, also faces several fraudulent use of debit or credit card charges, which the attorneys agreed to send to the grand jury without a hearing.
Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6347. Follow on Twitter @zackpeterson918.